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Apr 1, 2008

The New 'Scuppies' Wear a Mantle of Green

by Maria Puente

USA Today

First came hippies, followed soon by yippies, then preppies, yuppies, buppies and guppies. Now meet the "scuppies": socially conscious upwardly mobile persons.

You know these people because they're everywhere. They eat, drink and sleep organic. They think it's easy being green. They want to live well while doing good.

"You can't throw a stick and not hit one in Starbucks or the Whole Foods parking lot," says Chuck Failla, who knows scuppies because he says he is one. "My whole living room was done by Novica.com," the do-gooder artisan-promoting website.

Failla runs a successful New York/Connecticut financial planning firm, and he's a do-gooder, offering his services free to non-profit groups. He says he invented this latest neologism 10 years ago when he was a yuppie stockbroker (Armani suit and Rolex) doing pro bono work for a homeless organization.

"I wondered, why can't we be socially conscious and upwardly mobile at the same time?"

A decade later, he is taking his semi-tongue-in-cheek, semi-serious concept and trying to nationalize it via the Internet. Failla has published "The Scuppie Manifesto" on his website (scuppie.com). He plans to officially launch the scuppie movement on Earth Day, April 22, and he's aiming for Christmas to bring out his book, The Scuppie Handbook, a takeoff on 1980's The Official Preppie Handbook. (Profits will go to charity, he says.)

The world is ready for scuppies, Failla says, because the world has gone green. "Now even Wal-Mart has all kinds of green initiatives."

The goal is to make green the norm, not the expensive alternative.

"To be eco-friendly does not mean you have to wear a burlap sack when you can get beautiful, organically sourced clothing," he says. "Whatever you want, there's a greener alternative."

Every generation has its own -ppie acronym for describing groups of like-minded people. How come?

"Attaching this suffix to a word condenses a big idea into a small package so we're more effective in our speech," explains lexicographer Grant Barrett, co-host of the National Public Radio show A Way With Words. "Plus, it's an acronym, so that makes our speech more efficient."

Will the term "scuppie" last as long as, say, hippie?

"They almost never do," Barrett says. "Usually they die on the press release."

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